On Rearing Goats

My view from the milk stool is on rearing my goats. I’ve had goats since 2008. I bought my first goat the day I was laid off from my high paying job as a commercial real estate paralegal. I almost didn’t buy that goat because I was worried about finances, but I did and I’m glad I did.

I grew my goat herd to 13 hard working milking does that I milked by hand. The goats were brought up at night in a fenced-in enclosure, but during the day, they had free range of a lot of acreage of brush. It was goat heaven. No wonder why these goats were so healthy – they were living as goats should.
Then a woman brought property adjoining where we were living and put in a highway to her horse barn. She objected to the goats walking on her highway. We didn’t have adequate fencing to keep the goats in and given we didn’t own the property, we really didn’t want to invest in a lot of fencing.
We eventually put some in, and as it turned out, we weren’t able to take it with us so it was a waste of money.

I sold the goats – way too cheap – but they went as a group which is what I wanted. We got into Jersey cows who are a lot easier to fence in – a line or two of electric fencing is all you need for cows.

When we moved here up on the hill, we brought the cows with us, but we really don’t have enough acreage to maintain cows adequately. Sold the cows and bought goats. Eventually pared down to Oberhasli and thanks to a few excellent herds in North Carolina, we now have a really nice group of goats.

Throughout all the time I’ve been raising goats, we’ve always raised the kids on their mothers. I firmly believe that is the healthiest way to do it for mothers and their kids. I recognize that it’s not feasible for many – especially those that show – but I don’t show and have no intention of showing.

From those first kids that I kept back in 2009, I broke them to the milk stand and to stand quietly and milk. Some were easier than others. The Oberhasli have been very easy.

In 2019, I bought a solid black yearling from a farm in Raleigh. She was dam raised and it took four of us to catch her. She was my first solid black Oberhasli – her registered name is Soulshine Kryptonite. We call Kat because she thinks cats are to be killed. Kat had a solid black doeling in 2020 – we registered her as “Spellcast Farm Imablackkat2” and she’s called Kat2. Kat2 had two doelings this year, a solid black and a chestnut. I sold the chestnut yesterday to a local farm so Kat2 had extra milk this morning.

I’ve never milked this goat. She kidded in February and she’s been coming up on the milk stand to eat just like the goats I milk since February, but I haven’t attempted to milk her because she’s a first freshener, a yearling and had two doelings on her. I freshened another solid black doe this year as well, but she only had one kid so I’ve been milking her all along.

The video (ignore the fat lady in the teal shirt) is of the first time Kat2 has ever been milked. I expected this was how it’d go. Her mother, Kat, was the same way when I first milked her.

In general, however, the goat kids are wild as antelopes. Our barn has been purposely set up so we have areas where we can calmly (usually) run whomever we need to get our hands on into and do so. In the first year of their life, the kids aren’t messed with much. They’re wormed once. Once they kid, they’ll start to get handled more. They’ve all become easy to work with animals.

What kills me is to have to stress any of my goats or to scare them. It causes me to have a nervous breakdown when it happens. I care deeply for these animals and I want the absolute best for them.

Until later …